F gases and ozone depleting substances

Climate friendly alternatives to F gases


Fluorinated gases (F gases) have a very high greenhouse warming potential (GWP), much higher than carbon dioxide, and contribute to rising global temperatures.

Most F gases are used as refrigerants in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, but also as blowing agents, aerosol propellants and solvents.

Types of alternatives to F gases

There are alternatives to commonly used F gases which can be applied in different business sectors.

F gas alternatives include:

  • natural refrigerants
  • lower GWP F gases
  • hydrofluoroolefins
  • blends

F gas alternative uses

Alternatives to F gas use in certain sectors and applications include:

  • Commercial refrigeration - small stores and supermarkets can use plug-in equipment such as vending machines which rely on hydrocarbons or CO2. In large refrigeration systems for supermarkets, CO2 cascade systems are an alternative in large refrigeration systems for supermarkets.
  • Industrial refrigeration - ammonia systems are a popular and established replacement option in industrial refrigeration, such as large cooling facilities for food processing or process cooling in the chemical industry. Cascade systems with ammonia and CO2 can be installed in the food and beverage industry.
  • Stationary air conditioning - hydrocarbons are safely used as alternative refrigerants in room air conditioning systems in several countries. Hydrocarbons and ammonia are safe and energy-efficient alternatives to F gases in chillers. Heat pumps are also used with hydrocarbons and CO2.
  • Domestic refrigeration - hydrocarbon refrigerants have replaced the use of F gases since the mid-1990s.
  • Mobile air conditioning - The refrigerant R134a used in air conditioning of cars is prohibited in new cars by the MAC Directive. The main substitute is the R1234yf. The only alternative to this is CO2, which is currently used by some car manufacturers and is expected to become available as an alternative in the future for duty vehicles, busses and trains.
  • Transport refrigeration - CO2 can be used as an alternative in refrigerated containers.
  • Foam blowing - Polyurethane (PU) foam manufacturing already relies on hydrocarbons such as pentane or cyclo-pentane without loss in energy efficiency. F gases are mainly limited to on-site application of PU spray foam. For this and some niche applications, unsaturated F gases are already commercially available. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) manufacturers of insulation boards have already converted their production facilities to organic solvents or hydrofluoroolefins.

Find more detail on F gas alternatives.